A Leader’s Guide to Boost Student Learning

Six Steps to Boost Student Learning: A Leader’s Guide
By Karen A. Goeller
(Routledge/Eye On Education, 2018 – Learn more)

Reviewed by Anne Anderson

Karen A. Goeller uses her own experiences as both a teacher and an administrator to inspire school leaders in Six Steps to Boost Student Learning: A Leader’s Guide. Goeller suggests six achievable steps based on sound research that will result in an improved school culture.

► Step One: Focus on What Matters Most for Students
► Step Two: Lead Learning with Easy Data Use
► Step Three: Prioritize and Simplify Curriculum and Instruction
► Step Four: Strengthen Learning with Relationship Building
► Step Five: Leverage Powerful Pieces to Accelerate Growth
► Step Six: Energize Staff and Students for the Next School Year

An easy read

Because of the format, this book is an easy read. Each Step (chapter) features a bulleted list of Simple Strategies followed by an anecdote from the author’s experiences. Busy school leaders will appreciate the short segments such as Guide to Action and Research Tip, as well as the experiences from other educators. The examples and the evidence-based strategies are easy to implement. And, what educator doesn’t love a list! Goeller provides numerous lists that are sure to give the reader an idea.

► Simple Questions for a Portfolio Assessment Rubric (p. 21)
► Easy Ways to Raise AP Enrollment (p. 26)
► Easy Ways to Display Student Performance and Growth (pp. 62-63)
► Simple Ideas to Skyrocket Engagement (p. 85)
► Easy Ways to Schedule Modeling and Coaching (p. 121)
► Easy Ways to Bolster Academic Ties with Families (p. 132)

The chapters end with Reflection Questions and Leadership Take-Aways. I liked that a list of references was provided for each chapter.

Help with dealing with data

If you feel like you are drowning in data, then Step Two is for you! The author offers a Collaborative Data Protocol that I think will be very manageable. Let’s face it – we are worn-down, worn-out by the data. “Being co-learners in making meaning around data use will be revitalizing and morale-boosting for principals and teachers.” (p.56)

Step Three will help teachers and school leaders focus on what students need to learn. There are numerous strategies and ideas for using textbooks, pacing guides, unit plans, and daily lesson plans. High school teachers and administrators who struggle with providing high quality curriculum will find ample strategies in Step Three.

Clear, concise, and focused

If your goal is to improve curriculum, instruction, and assessment in your classroom, building, or district, then invest in Six Steps to Boost Student Learning: A Leader’s Guide. It is clear, concise, and focused. My suggestion is to read a section, pause and reflect, make notes to yourself, and then read some more.

eResources are available from Routledge here.

Former eighth grade teacher Anne Anderson is an educational consultant known for her practical ideas and engaging ELA workshops. Anne’s goal is to help teachers help students. Her positive approach and sense of humor bring encouragement to her audiences. She loves showing teachers how to use whatever resources they have – or don’t have – to enhance learning. Anne seeks to provide educators with practical solutions to teaching and learning problems. Visit her website and subscribe to her bi-monthly newsletter, Spotlight on Success, there or by texting ANNEANDERSON to 22828.

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